It isn't really July 20th when I'm writing this, but I am going to back date the posts so that I can keep track of where we were when.
We are off on our adventure! We left the house in pretty good time. It is 14 hours from Bloomington to Mount Rushmore so instead of booking a hotel room in advance we decide to just see how far we get and stop somewhere in South Dakota. It isn't that populated so surely we won't have any trouble finding a place to stay, right? The kids were very good on the first day and we made it to Minnesota by lunch time. I missed Iowa, but took this picture thinking I would catch all of the state lines on our trip. Sadly, this is the only one.
Minnesota is so pretty and, as usual, we think, hey! We could live here! But the mosquitoes at the rest stop helped me to quickly change my tune, yikes! By midafternoon we had made it to Mitchell so we pulled off to take a gander at the Corn Palace!
It was had a big auditorium, and, most importantly, some nice bathrooms. We also picked up a few corny snacks.
The flavored popcorn was amazing -- seriously the best we'd ever had. I had determined to not break my "no eating sugar" rule even during our trip, but after the white chocolate caramel popcorn was presented to me that resolution was thrown out the window for the duration.
Aaah, the prairie -- it is quite pretty!
By late afternoon we had made it to the badlands. We got out of the car for a bit of hiking and determined that we would just stop in Wall for the night.
It's never not a good time to check our texts...
The Badlands were so cool! We had never been there and realized we hadn't planned enough time there -- as a rule, we're chronically bad at planning out an itinerary. We're better the second time around... Phin loved it so much we had to promise that we would return someday. The whole rest of the trip he kept asking if we were in the Badlands again.
So we piled back in the car and drove into Wall. Not a single vacancy! And that place was chock full of motels! So we stopped in the next town, and the next, and the next place that wasn't even a town, but had rooms rented out behind the convenience store... nothing! It turns out that there was a music festival in Rapid City that weekend and that everything was booked within 100 miles. We finally pulled into Mount Rushmore around 1 a.m. We tried to get as comfortable as we could in the car and went to sleep. As my head bobbed, and my body contorted to find a tolerable position, I couldn't help but say a prayer of thanks that my children are so wonderful! Not a one of them complained about the situation, there was no one whining about how cramped and horrible it was. They are really nice kids who just roll with the punches for the most part. Aaaah.
At 5 a.m. Matthew turns to me and asks if we should just get going. Yes! Definitely! Let us not prolong this night one more minute, thank you very much! So we drove up to Mount Rushmore to watch the sunrise. Surprisingly enough, we had the whole place to ourselves!
We then hobbled our way in and out of Montana and Wyoming to Yellowstone. Matthew was such a good driver while everyone else drifted in and out of consciousness. I drove one scary stretch through some very curvy mountain roads, but I think he took care of the rest of it. We basically just drove through the park to get to our hotel in West Yellowstone, MT -- we had had the foresight to book something there, but that made more sense at the time.
We saw some buffalo
And some elk... no bears, though.